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How to Play RISK with Your Girlfriend

December 23, 2008

After playing a game of RISK with two other couples, I put together this little primer. It applies to other strategy-based games as well, but RISK is the focus here.

Here’s how to play RISK with your girlfriend:

  1. Don’t play RISK with your girlfriend. If you follow this rule, you can disregard the others.
  2. If you foolishly choose to play RISK with your girlfriend, the objective of the game is no longer world domination. It is: Don’t upset your girlfriend.
  3. If you are compelled to pursue both objectives, make sure to place your men in countries that are nowhere near your girlfriend’s countries, and then wait for her to lose before taking over the world. If you pull this off–it’s only been done once in history (yesterday)–you are the modern-day equivalent to Alexander the Great, who had both land and women.
  4. Don’t ever attack your girlfriend’s countries (unless she has one guy on Irkutsk. Nobody cares about Irkutsk).
  5. Don’t get mad at her if she attacks you. She’s playing this stupid game for you, so get over yourself.
  6. Don’t criticize your girlfriend’s decisions, even if she has left the Ukraine weak and vulnerable to attack after an overly ambitious campaign in Europe.
  7. If your girlfriend asks you for advice, don’t say, “Do whatever you want.” Rather, give her specific guidance, like, “Attack the Northwest Territories, get your card, then fortify back to Central America.”
  8. If she doesn’t follow your advice, tell her she did the right thing.
  9. If/when your girlfriend is eliminated, don’t tell her she can “join your team.”
  10. Just don’t play RISK with your girlfriend. Play a fun game where no one loses and there’s no real strategy, like Apples to Apples or Cranium, and then compliment her on how well she hummed the theme song of Family Ties and that you really should have guessed it and that everyone thought she was great. I promise you the drive home will be better than if you had played RISK. Hypothetically.
15 Comments leave one →
  1. Josh permalink
    December 23, 2008 11:03 am

    The North America strategy is unbeatable! All hail emperor me!

  2. Bryce permalink
    December 23, 2008 10:08 pm

    This is without question the wisest advice I have ever seen on this blog. I just pity those two other fools that played with you.

    ps. I woulda won if…

  3. Nancy permalink
    December 23, 2008 11:46 pm

    LOL. Hilarious. But I do have a couple comments. First, your #5 piece of advice…take your own advice! After I attacked you, you said, “I’m not helping you anymore! You attacked my stupid country in Europe! I don’t care if you’re foreign or not! You’re on your own from now on, foreigner!” Second, global domination? Really? Is there really such a thing? It’s not realistic. I feel bad for Josh. He’s probably wondering what he did wrong b/c he hasn’t taken over the world yet. Ural is currently not his right now. Even if he has a cannon on it. It belongs to the Uralians. So RISK is a huge tease. Hate it. Never again. Hypothetically.

  4. Adam permalink
    December 24, 2008 3:18 am

    1) Risk is awesome
    2) Genghis Khan also had the land and the womens. But unlike Alexander the Great, he did not also have the men.

  5. Josh permalink
    December 24, 2008 9:42 pm

    Actually, Nancy, I just finished the paperwork that officially completes my conquest of Ural. I am now the finite divine Uralian Emperor according to the UN charter I hold here in my hand and therefore have access to all of Ural’s many resources (mostly salt mines).

    Next week, the rest of western Asia. Look out, Irkutsk!

  6. Nancy permalink
    December 25, 2008 11:00 am

    I bow down before you, oh mighty emperor!

  7. Anonymous permalink
    December 31, 2008 11:21 am

    Ukraine is not weak! Ukraine strong!


  8. January 28, 2009 11:13 am

    I was recently dating a girl who claimed that RISK was her favorite board game. My head nearly exploded, coming face-to-face with this bizarro world.

  9. January 28, 2009 2:05 pm

    Yeah, that’s definitely an anomaly. Such women are to be coveted.

  10. Alice permalink
    January 30, 2009 9:19 am

    I agree with this whole list.

    This is by far the most important rule on the list: “She’s playing this stupid game for you, so get over yourself. ” I think it should be Rule #2.

  11. Player permalink
    July 15, 2009 8:28 am

    This is 101% true!

    I know at least two couples that had problems related to exactly this!

    Everybody should read these rules…

    • July 15, 2009 8:32 am

      A new rule I’d add is that if you’re going to play a strategy game, play one where everyone’s in it until somebody wins (unlike Risk, where people lose and then have nothing to do). I’d recommend Settlers. Simple, refined, mainstream enough that it’s not too geeky, but still plenty of strategy.

      • Player permalink
        July 15, 2009 8:45 am

        Settlers is good to play I think.

        But don’t break Settlers’ rules: it’s a 3-4 players game or 5-6 with the extension (as written on the box). Do not make the mistake of playing it one on one (it’s boring and inviting for conflict).

        Anyway, a Settlers rule: do not block your girlfriend’s road. Never ever. 🙂

        • July 15, 2009 8:48 am

          The Road Rule = hilarious. Good call.

          I’ve negotiated a truce with my non-board-game playing girlfriend: She’ll learn (and master) one strategy game, and we’ll be allowed to play that game on occasion. I could ask for more, but I know better than to do that.


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